/ 17 July 2023

Truck drivers forum denies planned national shutdown

N3 Trucks

As five suspects are expected to appear in the Ermelo magistrate’s court on Monday in connection with the torching of trucks, the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDF) – which the suspects are allegedly part of – has denied there will be a national shutdown. 

A provincial notice by the Safety and Security information management services in the Western Cape was issued on Friday about “possible attacks and demonstrations” by “members/supporters” of the ATDF. 

According to the notice, the shutdown is planned for Monday across several areas in Cape Town, including main roads such as the N1 and N2. It further states that the ATDF is “demanding” the immediate termination of foreign truck drivers and employment of unemployed South African truck drivers. 

But Sifiso Nyathi, the secretary of the ATDF, dismissed the notices and told the Mail & Guardian that they do not plan to embark on a shutdown provincially or nationally. 

Derick Ongansie, the director of Truckers for Transformation, said he too is not aware of any shutdown in the Western Cape. 

“We would not be so reckless to go on a strike damaging the economy further,” he told the M&G. 

Ongansie said he was confident that no attacks on trucks would take place in the Western Cape – such as those that have taken place in other provinces – as they have intelligence on the ground and “work in tandem with the city and province”.  

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said that the alert notice was considered “low to medium risk” and that intelligence agencies were not expecting any violence in the province. 

He added that the city remained on alert. 

The provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Andrè Traut, said that the police “are ready to deal with any eventuality relating to the trucking issue [on Monday] and our contingency plan is in place to ensure the safety of the people of this province”. 

By Thursday last week, 21 trucks on the N1, N2, N3 and R577 roads in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal were attacked and set alight in what have been  described as coordinated attacks of economic sabotage. 

The police arrested five suspects – all of whom were detained in Mpumalanga – who will appear on Monday. 

National police spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, said SAPS “will not allow any barricading of national, provincial and municipal roads” and that the police are “closely monitoring the situation and the social media space,” for any incitement of violence.  

“The SAPS and integrated law enforcement deployments will not tolerate any lawlessness or any form of criminality, whichever way it manifests itself. It is therefore important to note that anyone who is found to be contravening the law will be dealt with accordingly,” she told the M&G.